Although there is no concrete evidence, it is widely believed that the Ciboney peoples were the first inhabitants of the Caribbean Island of St.Lucia. Some artifacts have been discovered which perhaps predates the arrival of The Arawaks but there is no proven archaeological evidence that anyone occupied St. Lucia before the arrival of the Arawaks in approximately AD 200.
23rd August 1605
There are many versions of St.Lucia's earliest history, but the one undisputed fact is the first attempt at a settlement on 23rd August 1605 by a group of 67 people on a ship driven off course on its way to Guiana.
However, soon after their arrival, they were attacked by native Caribs and after heavy fighting the 19 remaining settlers were forced to flee the island.
In 1638 Captain Judlee (in some sources referred to as Major Judge or Jadlee), with a
commission from Sir. Thomas Warner, arrived in Saint Lucia with about 300 men. For about 18 months, the
settlement prospered and grew, without any major misunderstandings with the natives.
The peace came to an end, in August 1640, when the Caribs,
because of trouble encountered in another island, attacked Captain Judlee's settlement. In
a bitter fight, motivated by revenge, and with Caribs from neighboring islands assisting their
kith and kin, many hundreds were killed, and the very few settlers who
survived had to flee the island. These two experiences, quite under-standably, caused the British
to steer clear of the island for more than two decades..
In the meantime, however, the French developed an interest in Saint Lucia,
claiming that it had been included in a grant made by Cardinal Richelieu to
M. d'Esnambus in October 1626. Despite this claim, it was 17 years before M.
de Parquet, Lieutenant-General of Martinique, appointed M. Rousselan as
Governor of Saint Lucia. M. Rousselan, who married a Carib, kept his post until his
death in 1654.
Following the death of Rousselan, there were frequent changes in the Governor-
ship of the island until 1660, when local treaties were negotiated by the
French Governors of St.Christopher and Guadeloupe and the British Governors of Nevis,
Antigua, and Montserrat and between the French and Caribs. These agreements,
however, left Saint Lucia in the hands of the French.
1663 In 1663, Francis Lord Willoughby arrived in Barbados, as Governor, and he immediately started
to look for somewhere to send that island's surplus population.
He turned to the neighboring island of Saint Lucia. The intention of Lord
Willoughby and the Barbadians soon came to the knowledge of the French; they immediately
informed the British Govern-ment of the title deeds of the Heirs du Parquet and they put
Saint Lucia into a state of defence by erecting fortifications along Choc Bay.
The French claim was ignored, however, and the following year, more than 1000
Barbadians, accompanied by 600 Caribs, invaded Saint Lucia. The invaders met no
resistance and, after surrounding the fort and calling upon the Governor, M. LeSieur Bonnard, to
surrender, they took possession of the island. The Barbadian settlement did
not last long, and by February 16, 1666, it was abandoned, following sickness, attacks by the Caribs, and many other
Learning of the abandonment the French immediately returned, but they were
quickly driven out by Francis Lord Willoughby, with forces from Barbados.
The following year, the Peace of Breda placed Saint Lucia in the hands of the
The British soon made another bid for the island. In 1672, they appointed
William, Lord Willoughby, as Governor of Saint Lucia as well as Barbados,
St.Vincent and Dominica; but the French still continued to occupy the island.
When the Company administering the island, on behalf of the French
Government, was dissolved in 1674, Saint Lucia was annexed to the domain of
the French Crown and made a dependency of Martinique. This action did not
deter the British in their efforts to get possession of the island, and in
1686, they made another unsuccessful attempt - their ship of 50 guns was
The Saint Lucia colony of Frenchmen remained unmolested by the British until
1700, when Governor Grey of Barbados, by order of the King of England,set
claim to Saint Lucia, and informed d'Amblimont, Commander-in-Chief of the
French Antilles, that he had been instructed to expel the French settlers.
Grey was informed that any attempt to take the island would be repelled; and
this announcement put an immediate end to the whole affair.
August 1713 In 1713, the Peace of Utrecht was signed and a large number of French
deserters arrived in Saint Lucia. The colony became so large that Marechal
Count d'Estrees applied to the Regent of France for a grant of the island;
this was upheld through Letters Patent issued in August 1718.
The British objected to the grant by the Duke of Orleans, but no military
opposition was immediately mounted.
On July 24, the following year, d'Estrees organised a ceremony to mark his
achievement and a Mass was offered in honour of Saint Lucy.
June 20th 1722 D'Estrees did not long remain in undisputed possession, and on June 20, 1722,
the island, along with St. Vincent, was granted by the King of England to
John, Duke of Montague, who, at a cost of 40,000 pounds sterling, fitted out
an expedition, and appointed Mr.Nathaniel Uring as his Deputy-Governor in the
Sept 10th 1722 On September 10, the same year, Uring left Britain with a large flotilla. He
reached Barbados on December 7, and arrived at Saint Lucia nine days later, to
set up a settlement at Petit Carenage. Local French opposition was strong and
very soon a warning came from Martinique that unless Uring and his settlers
made a withdrawal within 15 days, they would be forced to do so. Uring tried
to get help from British warships in the area, but this was not forthcoming.
Faced with heavy landings of French troops, the Duke of Montague's
Deputy-Governor immediately realised that the safest course was to leave the
1722 A formal treaty was drawn up between the representatives of the colony and
the French authorities in Martinique. The articles of the Treaty of Choc, as
the document was named, provided that the French should leave Saint Lucia
after the British had done so, and the island should be placed in a neutral
state until the metropolitan governments of France and Britain had taken a
on its future allegiance..
1735 The withdrawal of the French troops did not result in the end of occupancy by
the nationals of France, for the French colonists remained and continued to
work their estates. Very soon, they were joined by other settlers from
Martinique. At the same time, though, there were also a few British families,
mostly Irish, on the island.
In 1735, a proclamation, calling for the withdrawal of all the settlers was
issued. It was not obeyed, for the people had been developing their estates
and were not willing to abandon them.
1744 The next formal attempt to settle Saint Lucia was made in 1744 when the
Governor-General of Martinique, the Marquis de Champigny, took advantage of
the war beween England and France and established a garrison under the
command of M.de Longueville.
The Treaty of Aix La Chapelle, in 1748, again declared Saint Lucia neutral,
but it was stipulated that the claims for the island should be examined.
was no evacuation, however, and until 1756, the island virtually remained a
French colony, (with de Longueville as Civil Commandant)..
1756 In 1756, England and France were once again at war, and more troops were
sent to Saint Lucia by the Governor-General of the French West Indies.
It was not until 1762 that the British decided to again occupy the island,
after the capture of Martinique by Rodney and de Monkton. A detachment was sent
to Saint Lucia, and de Longueville soon surrendered, and Saint Lucia passed
into British possession on February 25, 1762. But on February 10 the
following year, the Treaty of Paris put Saint Lucia back into the hands
of the French.
1756 For the next 15 years, there was virtual peace in Saint Lucia. During the
period, estates were developed and the fortifications were strengthened with
the building of massive forts on Morne Fortune. The capital was also removed
from Petit Carenage and built on its present site - but the time of
undisturbed peace had not yet fully come.
1778 Towards the end of 1778 orders were issued from London to Sir Henry Clinton,
who was then stationed in New York. He was instructed to send reinforcements
to the British commanders in the West Indies to be employed "in the conquest
of Saint Lucia."
On December 13, 1778, Admiral Barrigton's reinforced squadron, with 12
transports and more than 5,000 men, entered Grand Cul-de-Sac Bay, and that
same evening, Brigadier General Meadows and Prescot effected a landing.
The Chavelier de Micoud, who was then in command of the island with only a
few officers and about 60 men at Morne Fortune, was quickly driven out,
although he had been able to muster two companies of militia among the
1778 Withdrawing to Morne Paix Bouche, de Micoud sent vessels to Martinique to
inform Admiral Count d'Estaing of the attack.
The French Admiral promptly responded to the appeal and arrived at the island
late in the evening. However, he decided to wait until next day to start his
attack upon the invaders.
This attack started early but on three occasions it was repulsed. Despite the
superiority of his forces d'Estaing eventually withdrew, after ten days of
The colony was then surrendered to the British, and General Grant took
possession on behalf of the English Crown.
1780 Two years later, on October 10-11, Saint Lucia was struck by a hurricane,
gravely affecting its agriculture and trade, and causing many estates to be
In May 1781, the French made another attempt to wrest Saint Lucia from the
British. With 25 men-of-war, Admiral Count de Grasse sailed from Martinique
to attack the island. He was seconded by the Marquis de Bouille who, with a
large body of troops, was able to make a landing at Gros Islet. But their
only temporary, and a restricted success, for they were all soon driven off
had to withdraw to Martinique.
1783 At the negotiations for the Treaty of Versailles in 1783, the future
possession of Saint Lucia was an important topic and it was eventually agreed
that the island should pass into French hands; it was thus delivered up to
the French Governor-General, de Damas, in January 1784.
For the next five years, the island went through remarkable economic
improvement under the Governorship of Baron de Labourie; but the year of his
death, 1789, was also the start of the French Revolution, and this brought
with it new trouble for Saint Lucia.
1790 Two years after the Revolution started, local agitation reached its climax
when two revolutionary agents, Montdenoiz and Linger, hoisted the Tricolore
on Morne Fortune causing the Governor, Colonel de Gimat to flee the island.
As 1782 came to its close, the revolutionaires gained more inspiration from
captain La Crosse who had been entrusted with the duty of propagating the new
political philosophy in the island.
The following year, the National Convention of France sent out General Ricard
as Governor. He arrived in Saint Lucia on 3rd February 1793, and the
following day, he promulgated the Decree for the Abolition of Salavery in the
1794 Ricard was also responsible for giving Republican names to all the island's
towns and villages.
When war broke out between the French Republic and Britain, it was not long
before it spread to the West Indies; and on April 4, 1794, British Colours
were hoisted at Morne Fortune by HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, Sir Charles
Gordon, with a big garrison, was left behind to govern the island.
The surrender of the island sent many French ex-slaves and soldiers to the
woods. From their encampments they launched attack after attack upon the
British garrison, which, at the same time, was sorely tested and reduced by
1794 The attacks upon the British became more determined with the arrival of a
large body of Republican troops under the command of Commissary Goyrand. He
soon organised the disorganised forces, and, considerably reduced by illness,
the garrison could offer little resistance. By June 1795, in spite of some
strong opposition at Vieux-Fort and Rabot by Brigadier-General Stewart, the
April 1796 Less than 12 months later, on April 26, 1796, 12,000 troops, supported by a
detachment of Rear-Admiral Sir Hugh Christian's squadron, arrived off the
island under the command of Lieutenant- General Sir Ralph Abercrombie. Men
were landed at Longueville Bay, Choc Bay, and Anse La Raye, and from these
points they moved on Morne Fortune which had been heavily fortified by
Goyrand. The resistance which the British troops and Moore was able to take
possession of Morne Fortune and plant the British colours.
This defeat marked the beginning of the end for the Republicans, for despite
continued resistance by those who were in the other parts of the island, they
eventually gave up before the end of 1797. By that time, Moore, who had been
appointed Governor after the victory of the previous year had been forced to
return to Britain because of illness and he had been replaced by Colonel
By 1802, however, the Treaty of Amiens once again put Saint Lucia
into the hands of the French. But it was not long before Britain and France
were once again at war, and on June 19, 1803, Commodore Hood and
Lieutenant-General Grinfield set out from Barbados to take Saint Lucia.
The squadron reached Choc Bay two days later, and the troops, disembarking
without opposition, immediately set themselves up at La Vigie and Castries.
They called upon the French Commander to lay down arms, and when this
request was not met, the fort was attacked.
Brigadier -General Jn.Fs Xavier Nogues, the Governor, eventually surrendered
at the end of what was to be the last battle for Saint Lucia between the
French and the British. The island remained in British hands until it was
finally ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Paris in 1814.
Up to 1838, Saint Lucia was administered as a separate territorial unit, with
its Governor being in direct contact with the Colonial Office. In that year,
it was annexed to the Government of the Windward Islands which then comprised
Barbados, Grenada, Saint Vincent and Tobago, with the seat of Government at
It remained in the Windward Islands Group, in spite of many changes
in the Group's composition, until the post of Governor of the Windward
Islands was abolished on December 31, 1959.
January 1st 1960
On January 1, 1960, a new Constitution came into force and the island was
once again being administered as a separate unit with an Administrator
advised by an Executive Council comprising a Chief Minister, four other
ministers ( one without portfolio), and the Attorney General. The Legislative
Council then comprised ten elected members, two nominated members and the
Territory's Attorney General, with a Speaker presiding at the sessions.
1st March 1967
The next major constitutional development came on March 01, 1967 when Saint
Lucia became an Associated State, with full control over all her internal
affairs,and Britiain having responsibility for her Defence and Foreign Affairs, in consultation with the island's
Under this status, the territory's Representative of the British Monarch
again assumed the title of
Governor, but for the first time, in its long history, the appointment was
made after consultation with the citizens' elected leader.
22nd Feb 1979
This "association" continued until February 22, 1979, when the island became
member of the Commonwealth of former British Empire territories.